- Hi! I'm _______.
- Is this your first event?
- How did you hear about it?
- What made you come?
- Have you found it useful before?
- Do you know anyone else?
- Are you from DC?
- Few are really from here. Where did you move from?
- What kind of business are you in?
- What do you do besides work?
HOW TO: Be the Most Interesting Person at a Networking Event
Tonight, you have a networking event; let's just say at an event space in DC. You think of all the excuses not to attend because networking events are not your cup of tea. When you can't find a good excuse, you take the first big step and walk in the door of the restaurant. You scribble your name on a name-tag, then head to the bar to grab a drink so you have something to do with your hands.
You're standing at the bar waiting for the bartender to get your drink and someone walks up next to you. You're both silent and feeling a little awkward. Now what?
When you meet anyone, your first question should never be "What do you do?" No one likes to answer it, no matter the venue. Networking events are a lot like dating. You have to strike up a conversation without being boring, find out some information to see if you're interested in getting to know them, and then find a way to keep the conversation going if you decide you want to.
Back to the bar - you're standing next to someone who is there to meet you. Say something. Like:
...and on and on. The first rule of networking: Ask answerable questions. The second rule: Stop talking about yourself.
The secret to networking (and dating) is to be seen as a really interesting person. People remember you as interesting if you ask questions. Interesting people don't share tons of information about themselves, they share tidbits to keep people hooked. People like to tell you things, so let them. Be the most interesting person in the room by finding out everything there is to know about another person.
And when you're done chatting with them, use some of the great information you just found out and introduce them to someone else. Don't forget to get their business card and write a little note about what you learned about them so you can remember it later.
Being a great networker is like being a great date. Find out about the other person and be remembered as being interesting, mostly because you asked good questions.
About Melanie - Founder of Sisarina, Melanie Spring has created a business around her passion for growing businesses. The goal of her branding & marketing firm is to make her clients self-sufficient. Working with corporations and non-profits since 2001 has given her insight into a wide range of industries and the skill to create out-of-the-box marketing strategies for all types. A social maven, Melanie hosts #dctweetup and has made it her mission to make DC a smaller city through creating connections.